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A Swig of Breast Milk?

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Does downing a few frothy beers help with lactation? Christina Aguilera might think so.


The New York Post reported that breastfeeding new Mom Christina Aguilera was spotted enjoying a cold one at a swank bar in Los Angeles. While some of us Moms swore off the alcohol during our breastfeeding days, many of us believed that refreshing rumor: What's on tap actually helps our "tap" flow. Is this just one of those crazy myths created by a Mom who really, really needed a drink?

We asked friend of momlogic pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson this beer query. "Beer has long been rumored to help increase a breastfeeding mother's milk supply. This has nothing to do with the alcohol content--rather, it is the yeast and barley that have been given credit for enhancing milk production. But alcohol often has the opposite effect: decreasing milk supply."

Although the occasional drink is OK for a breastfeeding Mom, Dr. Cara recommends the old "pump and dump the next feed," if you start feeling at all tipsy.

Do you think beer and breastfeeding mix?

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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
lauredhel May 8, 2008, 10:43 AM

A shame your “expert” doesn’t know her lactation pharmacology. There is no need to “pump and dump” the next feed, unless the mother is so smashed that she becomes painfully engorged and in need of emptying before she’s getting back near sober.

Ethanol follows zero-order kinetics: it diffuses freely back out of milk into the blood as the blood levels go back down, so milk levels stay the same as blood levels. Milk levels are so low that in most situations, “sober enough to drive, sober enough to breastfeed” is a reasonable approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics classifies alcohol as “usually compatible with breastfeeding”.

Nicole J. May 8, 2008, 1:57 PM

I didn’t drink often while I was breastfeeding, but on a occasion I got a little tipsy. Sometimes my son nursed within hours of my last drink. I did the research and talked to a LC and realized that there are much more important contaminates to worry about. Lauredhel has got it right.

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